Srinagar, Nov 6: Football lovers in Kashmir had lots to cheer about on Tuesday when the valley hosted its first ever I-League game and hundreds of fans, including former chief minister Omar Abdullah, turned up to root for the local team – Real Kashmir FC.
As clouds made way for the sun after four days of overcast weather, the fans descended on the valley’s lone football stadium the Astroturf TRC ground here in the summer capital of the state.
Overlooked by snow-capped mountains and fiery Chinar trees, the TRC ground came to life as the match between Real Kashmir FC and Churchill Brothers SC which ended in a 0-0 draw.
The opportunity to watch top-level football players along with the enthusiasm to support the home team drew people from the city and other districts of the valley to witness the game.
Slowly, every seat in the stadium was filled and many fans were not able to find a spot for themselves.
While the crowd welcomed both the teams with a loud applause, the stadium reverberated with slogans favouring the home team. Young and old alike cheered for them and enjoyed every bit of the game.
The boisterous home crowd was behind its team on its every move but felt disappointed when the team could not convert the chances into goals.
“This match is very exciting for several reasons. First, it is the first time that a match of such a prestigious league is being played here. Second, it is our own team which is playing,” Shabir Ahmad, a football enthusiast, said.
“Then, we are getting a chance to see quality football with players from across the country and even abroad,” he added.
Ahmad, however, said he felt disappointed that the team could not score.
“They had good chances but could not convert them into goals. We felt a bit disappointed, but overall, they played really well and we had a good game to watch,” he said.
Another spectator, Mansoor Bhat, a resident of downtown here, said such matches would build interest in football and would go a long way in popularising the game.
“The youth in Kashmir is generally fond of football, but games like this will attract more of them to the sport and I am sure many of them will now think about it seriously,” Bhat said.
Real Kashmir FC Striker Danish Farooq also expressed hope that many youth would choose football as their future.
“More youth will associate themselves with the game now. I think and I am hopeful that they will now see that there is future in football,” he said at the post-match press conference.
Farooq said it was a proud moment for the team to play at home.
“We were very excited, but kept our focus though we did not put up a good result, we did well. It was a proud moment for all of us and we will not disappoint our fans the next time,” he said after being declared man of the match.
ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast
Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.
2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander
Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.
Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.
Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi
Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.
Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.
Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.